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Trip Planner Europe  /  France  /  Normandy  /  Basse-Normandie  /  Orne  /  Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei


Churches · Gardens · Art Museums
Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei is a commune in the Orne department in north-western France.It lies on the River Sarthe 13km from Alençon, the chef-lieu of the department, and some 200km west of Paris.HistoryThe place is named for Serenicus (or Genericus), an Italian hermit who lived here during the 8th century. When he died, a monastery was built, later destroyed by the Vikings in 903. The church was a dependency of the abbey of Saint-Evroult-en-Ouche.The name le-Gérei comes from William Giroie, who built a castle here in 1044 of which only parts of the walls remain today. In 1060 the castle came under siege from Duke William II of Normandy (the future King William I of England) before being taken by Robert Courteheuse his son in 1088.During the Hundred Years' War, Ambroise de Loré managed to defend the stronghold against the king of England Henry V and, then his brother John Plantagenet until 1434.The beauty of the village's setting, in a wooded loop of the River Sarthe, has attracted and inspired many artists since the 19th century. The village even has its own festival which annually celebrates those painters who came to, or lived in, Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei.
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